An Intimate Conversation with Ang Lee

What do a superhero action blockbuster, an intimate western love story and a foreign language film have in common? For one, they’re all directed by Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee.

The Film Foundation and Louis XIII Cognac partnered up Wednesday night to cohost Creative Encounter, an evening of conversation with two-time Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee and actress Anne Hathaway, who worked with Lee on Brokeback Mountain in 2005.

Held in the Charles Aidikoff Screening Room in Beverly Hills, Creative Encounter began with a video montage of Lee’s numerous films along with a discussion about Lee’s love affair with filmmaking, illustrating decades-worth of the hard work and talent the Film Foundation aims to preserve as an “art form that stands the test of time.”

Despite his incredible successes thus far, Lee didn’t always want to be behind the camera. Coming to the United States from Taiwan when he was 23 years old, Lee had all the intentions of becoming a famous actor, but he soon realized an unavoidable obstacle standing in the way of his dream: he couldn’t speak English. Wanting to continue to be a part of the entertainment industry in some way, Lee resorted to directing.

“I went to film school but I was doubtful and I didn’t think I would make any money or do anything,” Lee reflected on his decision. Does he still have his doubts? “Not anymore,” Lee said, “Not after the two, three Oscars. I can’t deny that I’m a talented filmmaker now, but I used to deny it for a long, long time.”

Lee soon fell in love with directing, discovering that he could take something pretend in order to convey a truth. It’s another similarity his many diverse works share: the hopes and disappointments that all humans have. His leaps between genre and style also are due, in part, to Lee’s drive to explore the unknown.


“It’s like sight-seeing; why would you want to go to the same place?” Lee said. “In marriage you have to be loyal, but in filmmaking…why not explore?” He’s admitted to turning down several movie deals in the past that he felt were in a genre he had already spent time in.

Lee also reflected on his long career from the beginning, back when he directed one of his first films in 1992, Pushing Hands, about the clash between Chinese traditions of family and modern Western ideals regarding individualism. If he could, would he travel back in time to give his younger, less experienced self advice?

“No,” Lee said simply. “I’m not saying that movie was perfect. There were things I did that I think now, ‘Oh, don’t do that, that’s so embarrassing,’ but I was doing my best.”

Actress Anne Hathaway, who won the Oscar last year for best supporting actress, weighed in on her 10 year friendship with Lee and her initial first impressions. The two met when 21 year-old Hathaway auditioned for Brokeback Mountain –– in an extravagant princess ball gown, no less, during a lunch break from filming The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

“I was so intimidated when I walked into the room, but when I met [Ang], I felt like I’d known him for a long time,” Hathaway reflected. “Before, I never referred to myself as an actress but after working with him on this film I thought, ‘I can call myself an actress now.'”

Continuing with his theme of human condition, Lee revealed his plans for a new film centered around boxing. “It’s two guys beating each other senseless, but with meaning,” Lee said, “And I think that’s the bottom line of life: the effort we put into something.”

A KARATE KID TRIBUTE for Tamlyn Tomita’s Birthday


Japanese-American actress Tamlyn Tomita turns 48 today. Tomita has had numerous Hollywood TV and movie roles such as Waverly Jong in The Joy Luck Club, Lieutenant Commander Tracy Manetti in JAG and guest roles on popular TV shows like Glee and Teen Wolf.

But let’s not forget about the iconic movie that first introduced us to Tomita in 1986, when she was just 20 years old. The Karate Kid, Part II had Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita reprise their roles as student and mentor in this martial arts sequel. Tomita played Kumiko, the young Daniel’s love interest.

To commemorate Tomita’s birthday and give you a blast from the past, we present to you photos and video clips from everyone’s favorite coming-of-age karate blockbuster. Wax on, wax off.

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AAB Banner Square

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Disney Princesses As Sailor Moon Characters

Disney’s newest animated feature Frozen brought us not one, but two new Disney Princesses. With the success of the film, the popularity of Disney Princesses have once again shot up.

Social media sites have been covered with tests to “find out which Disney Princess you are.” People have begun closely analyzing Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa as well as the classics. More and more videos of Disney song covers are being uploaded to YouTube every minute.

At this point, is there anything that could make the Disney Princess craze even more successful? How about combining it with another popular franchise?

Well that’s exactly what artist Drachea Rannak has done. Since 2013, Drachea Rannak has taken popular Disney heroins and re-imagined them as Sailor Moon characters.

Popular manga and animated series Sailor Moon is one of Japan’s most successful franchises. The English adaptations of both the manga and anime series became the first successful shōjo title in the United States. The franchise has not only stolen the hearts of Japan and the US, Sailor Moon has gained popularity worldwide.

It only seems fitting that two powerhouses join together. Drachea Rannak recently added Anna and Elsa onto his list of “Sailor Princesses.” Check them out below.

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Top 5 Reasons We Love Variety’s 2014 Breakthrough Actress OLIVIA MUNN

Variety‘s Breakthrough of the Year Awards celebrates and recognizes rising stars in entertainment and technology. This year, the awards ceremony took place at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

Much of our attention was focused on Variety’s 2014 Breakthrough Actress Winner, Olivia Munn. The 33-year-old half-Chinese actress has been on our radar for quite some time. Thankfully, the world is taking notice.

Munn is most known for her roles in films such as Iron Man 2 and Magic Mike as well as her roles on television shows such as The Daily Show and New Girl.

Although she is considered a “rising star,” she has captivated the hearts of her fans for years. Don’t know her yet? Now’s the time. Here are our Top 5 Reasons We Love Olivia Munn.


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1. She never gave up on her dreams.
In a 2011 interview with Audrey Magazine, Munn admits that when she first told her mother she wanted to be an actress, her mother adamantly disagreed and insisted that she become a lawyer.

In fact, her mother wasn’t the only one who doubted Munn’s choice of acting. Initially, Munn found her dreams difficult to follow. Her unique look and Asian eyes originally caused her to feel doubtful.

But Munn didn’t give up on her dreams. In fact, it all made her work harder to prove to everyone (including herself) that she was capable. “I told myself, my bar will always be higher than what I was doing at the time. Then if I reached that one, I would make another higher one, and another one,” she says. “I’ve worked hard for a long time [so I could] tell myself, I’ll never be the reason I hear no.”

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2. She overcame social pressures.
Munn spent much of her childhood moving around. She was born in Oklahoma, but spent a large portion of her childhood in Tokyo, Japan. Needless to say, she found it difficult to fit in.

According to Refinery29, Munn tried to change her appearance to be accepted by her peers. “I wore men’s clothing a lot in high school because I wanted to hide behind baggy pants and T-shirts. When I moved from Japan to Oklahoma at 16 I tried to go more preppy to fit in. I ditched my skater clothes but I just ended up looking like some weird girl desperately trying to fit in. The kids in school would be wearing sweater vests from Gap, but we couldn’t afford brand new clothes so I would borrow my grandmother’s linty, moth-eaten sweater vests and not realise how much of a sore thumb I looked like.”

But as expected, she overcame this need to fit in. “When you’re always the new girl, it forces you to come up with new ways to make friends,” Munn tells Audrey Magazine, “because every time you go somewhere, it’s literally the same battle. Eventually with me, once I built up so much scar tissue, I didn’t have to worry so much about becoming popular or being welcomed or being accepted.”

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3. Her strong relationship with her fans.
Over the years, Munn has gathered quite a handful of loyal fans and has proven that she doesn’t allow fame to get to her head. Her fan club is called OMFGs (Olivia Munn Fan Group) and Munn has been known to be extremely generous and kind to her dedicated fans.  In an interview with US Magazine, Munn has stated that she owes everything she has to her loyal fan group, OMFG.

“They’re amazing. I’m very lucky. It’s a really good feeling to know they have my back,” says Munn. ““They put me on this ride. They’re coming along for the ride.”


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4. She’s a published author.
Although Munn pursued her dream of becoming an actress despite her mother’s initial sentiments about the career, the last thing Munn wanted to do was go against her mother’s will. Munn admits that no matter what, she needed her mother’s approval before making big decisions like moving to Hollywood.

To satisfy her mother, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a journalism degree and work for a year at a local television station before moving west.

Although Munn is now a successful actress, she still put her degree to good use and became a published author. Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek, was released on July 6, 2010.


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5. She’s an Audrey Magazine covergirl.
The beautiful Olivia Munn graced our Spring 2011 cover. Check out the must-read cover story here.


LINSANITY : Not Even A Multimillion Dollar NBA Contract Or A Feature Film Can Change Jeremy Lin

Story by Ada Tseng.

In 2012, basketball star Jeremy Lin lived the ultimate underdog story. As the then-23-year-old rose from obscurity — one minute, he was worried his short-lived NBA career was over, the next minute, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline “Against All Odds” — Lin became more than an international sports hero. He embodied the hardworking Asian American icon that had been discriminated against and underestimated his entire life and was finally getting his opportunity to show the world what he could really do.

While his February 2012 streak caught everyone (including Lin himself) off guard, no one could have been more excited than the film team led by director Evan Jackson Leong, who happened to be shooting a documentary about Lin at the time. Leong had started production on the film back when Lin was a senior at Harvard university. Lin remembers, “I figured, worst case, we’d have someone compile all this footage and make a cool story, and maybe I’ll be able to show it to my kids and my grandkids one day.”

As January 2012 rolled around, Leong was ready to wrap up Lin’s story, but the only thing he was missing was a good ending. Lin not only gave them their ending, he elevated the stakes of the film more than any of them could ever imagine. What was envisioned as a low-key series of webisodes about one of the few Asian Americans in the NBA suddenly included footage of sports journalists bombarding Kobe Bryant with questions about Lin, David Letterman donning a Jeremy Lin jersey on the Late Show, and even President Obama claiming he knew about Lin way back when he was playing at Harvard. Narrated by actor Daniel Dae Kim, Linsanity: The Jeremy Lin Story screened at the Sundance Festival, had a theatrical release in October, and will be out on DVD January 4.

After the whirlwind that was Linsanity whisked Lin from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets in July 2012, the attention started to die down. A year later, the 25-year-old has, for the most part, remained out of the headlines, but in Taiwan, the homeland of Lin’s parents, the obsession continues. Giant Linsanity billboards can be seen all over Taipei, and as Linsanity producer Bryan Yang says in a new NBA video about Jeremy Lin fandom in Taiwan: “Linsanity as a phenomenon has not subsided. It’s as if it were February 2012 still. … It’s the Beatles, except modern-day in Taiwan.”

Each summer, Lin travels to Taiwan to teach at a youth basketball camp, as well as to share his testimony of the past year. At 2013’s “Dream Big, Be Yourself” youth conference in Taipei, he confessed that he temporarily lost control of his identity with the unexpected onslaught of fame.

“I talked a lot about the pressures of Linsanity and being caught up in who everyone else wanted me to be,” says Lin. “I addressed three main issues that draw people away from God — money, worldly success and human approval — and how I started to put my identity in basketball. I started to be consumed by the whole Linsanity thing.”

On what helps him keep his head on straight, he says, “I think it’s just constant reminders, going back to the Gospel message and understanding that it doesn’t matter how well I play or what I do on the court; at the end of the day, I’m still a sinner before God, and that’s all that really matters. I need His grace, His love, His forgiveness, and it’s about being diligent, spending time with God every single day and having that support network to keep you accountable.”

But that doesn’t mean Lin doesn’t have time to have fun. On his down time, he and his family and friends collaborate on comedy videos on his YouTube channel, which boasts videos with up to 4.7 million views and have featured everyone from popular YouTube stars KevJumba and Ryan Higa to basketball colleagues Steve Nash and James Harden.

“People can take three minutes and watch a funny video, and it’ll help them laugh and relax, but hopefully every video has a specific message behind it, too,” says Lin. For example, one of his latest videos, “You’ve Changed, Bro,” which spoofs the idea that Lin has let fame go to his head, ends with a passage from Romans 12:2a: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

And on being considered a new Asian American sex symbol? The 6- foot-2-inch athlete, who has been quoted saying that his perfect girl would be “a faithful Christian” and have “a desire to serve other people [and] help with the underprivileged,” remains modest.

“I appreciate that people see me in that way, but it’s kind of something that I brush to the side,” he says. “I don’t think that’s ever been one of my goals or one of my focuses, but I’m still thankful that they see me in whatever light that they see me in.”

This story was originally published in our Winter 2013-14 issue. Get your copy here

Full Length Trailer for Live-Action “Kiki’s Delivery Service” Disappoints Viewers

When it was announced that Japan was creating a live-action version of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service, it seemed as if the world could hardly wait.

This news was especially exciting for dedicated Miyazaki fans who were saddened by Miyazaki’s news of retirement. Although the  film director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter would no longer create brilliant works, fans took comfort that his legacy could live on through this live-action film.

Unfortunately, this excitement quickly dropped with the release of the film’s teaser trailer a few months ago. Although the teaser gathered well over 1 million views, this number does not accurately explain fan reactions to it. The teaser had over 400 likes, but it also gained over 2,300 dislikes. Clearly, the public had no problem expressing their opinion.

Some complained about the special effects while others claimed there was no way it could accurately portray the magic of Miyazaki’s work. Some even broke out into arguments about the 1985 novel by  Eiko Kadono which inspired Miyazaki’s work in the first place.

Whatever your opinion of the trailer was, there was simply no denying that fans seemed unsatisfied.

Recently, the first full length trailer of the live-action film made its way to the internet. This time, the trailer is a minute a five seconds. Although this may seem short for a full length trailer, this is still longer than the 40 second teaser released earlier.

This trailer reveals more of the island which Kiki appears to live on, the bakery she works in, a boy we suspect is Tombo, and more shots of Kiki flying on her broom.

The full length trailer is only a couple of days old, but it has already gained nearly 600,000 views on YouTube. Unfortunately, the dislikes almost double the likes. Once again, some ghibli fans do not appear to be pleased while others argue that it’s a “must see.”

Watch it below for yourself and tell us what you think.


Tao Okamoto’s Hollywood Debut in “The Wolverine”

Story by Taylor Weik.

She’s walked on more runways than she can count, has had an issue of Japanese Vogue dedicated to her and her bowl haircut inspired fashion designer Phillip Lim to imitate the style on the whole cast of his fall/winter 2009 show. To say that Tao Okamoto has made achievements in the fashion world is an understatement. Now, the Japanese supermodel, who has won honors such as “Model of the Year” from the Japan Fashion Editor’s Club and one of Japanese Vogue’s “Women of the Year,” has moved on to the entertainment industry to tackle another profession: acting.

Okamoto made her Hollywood acting debut in this summer’s Marvel blockbuster The Wolverine, costarring alongside the Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. Directed by 3:10 to Yuma’s James Mangold, the X-Men sequel, which is set to be released in Digital HD  November 19 and released on DVD and Blu-ray December 3, follows the hero to Japan for the first time since World War II where he encounters a new set of mutants and villains. While in Japan, he meets and falls for Okamoto’s Mariko Yashida, the granddaughter of Wolverine’s old friend whom he saved during the war.

It’s no coincidence that Okamoto’s first film has her costarring with Jackman. “My Japanese agent told me about the audition and I almost refused; I’ve never acted,” Okamoto recalls. “But then when I was told that the role would be Hugh Jackman’s love interest, I said yes right away!”

Okamoto has always cited Jackman as one of her celebrity crushes, so when she received the news that she had landed the role of Mariko while in her New York apartment, “I was so happy and honored, then I was worried. I didn’t know what to expect from my first acting role.”

But the model had a large support system. Okamoto had reassuring talks with Mangold and Jackman became a mentor to her as soon as the two met. In between takes and while on set, Jackman would give her helpful acting tips he’d learned over the years. She even got to work with Rila Fukushima, another model-turned-actress that Okamoto had known for 10 years in the fashion world but never had the chance to get to know.


More than anything, Okamoto found that acting wasn’t so different from modeling. “The reason why I love modeling is because I love transforming myself. I enjoy dressing up as someone else and immersing myself. Acting allows me to do that even more because now I can use my voice and movements to immerse myself even more in the role.”

Is she going to pursue acting full-time? Maybe, but not now. Okamoto plans to continue balancing her runway shows with scene-rehearsing. In the future, she hopes to act in serious dramas or musicals (yes, she can sing, too). She’s graced the pages of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue as a model already; maybe next time, she’ll be one of the featured actresses.


Flashback Friday | Ten Indian Leading Ladies You Should Know

2013 marks 100 years of Indian cinema — home of the unique film genre affectionately referred to as Bollywood — and through the century, there have been many memorable leading ladies, from Nargis, Sridevi and Rekha to Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, Preity Zinta and many many more.

This year,  Audrey Magazine highlights some of our favorite Indian actresses ruling contemporary Hindi cinema today.

Here are 10 names to know:

Priyanka Chopra

When the former Miss World (2000) began her career in Bollywood, from her 2002 debut in the Tamil film Thamizhan to her damsel-in-distress role to Hrithik Roshan’s superhero in 2006’s Kriish, there was often more talk about her skimpy outfits than her acting skills. Then 2008 happened: Chopra had six films come out that year, and while the first few were unsuccessful, late 2008 brought the release of Fashion, the first role that got critics talking about her talent rather than her looks — especially when she swept all the major Indian Film Awards that year for Best Actress. Since then, even if the film she’s been in haven’t been acclaimed, people tend to point out Priyanka Chopra’s performance as the best part. Case in point: the awards she’d picked up for playing a murderess in 7 Khoon Maaf and an autistic woman in Barfi! in the last two years.

Films to watch:


Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan has been acting in feature films for a decade, but she broke out into stardom recently with her role in The Dirty Picture, the biopic about the adult film actress Silk Smitha who was popular in the 1980s and 90s. The role earned her Filmfare and National Film Awards for Best Actress in 2012, and she followed it up with the crime thriller Kahaani, in which she plays a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband.

Films to watch:
The Dirty Picture



Kajol (also pictured at the top of the article) has been a household name since 1995’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), which kickstarted a filmgoing craze (it is the longest running Indian film in history, and as of Jan 2013, the film is still playing in a theater in Mumbai, 17 years later) as well as a timeless romantic pairing (Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan have acted in six films together). But in recent years, Kajol has brought an even greater depth to her performances. Just check her out as the blind woman in Fanaa or the grieving mother in My Name is Khan. You’ll feel like a really beautiful, soulful woman just punched you in the stomach.

Films to watch:
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
My Name is Khan

Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone made her debut in 2007’s Om Shanti Om, playing two characters that looked identical though they’re from different time periods (it can happen, just go with it). But she gave both characters enough nuance to prove to audiences that she was more than a tall, strikingly-beautiful model — even though she was definitely tall and definitely strikingly beautiful. Since then, she’s taken on different types of characters, from the modern-day romantic lead in Love Aaj Kal to the downward-spiraling toxic friend in Cocktail.

Films to watch:
Om Shanti Om
Love Aaj Kal


Anushka Sharma

Another actress who got her start in a Shah Rukh Khan film (2008’s Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), Anushka Sharma soon ventured out on her own and found another leading man that she seemed to have good chemistry with, on and off screen. Acting opposite co-star Ranveer Singh (quick tangent: check out his abs in Audrey’s Daily SHAG here) in Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl, Sharma really showcased her natural charisma and ability to lead a film. In 2012, she reunited with Shah Rukh Khan in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Whereas in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she played the mourning, subdued wife whose life and belief in love needed to be re-ignited by Shah Rukh Khan’s charm, in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, she was the mini-Shah Rukh Khan, who “Shah Rukh Khan”-ed Shah Rukh Khan himself. I know it sounds confusing. But just watch the movies.

Films to watch:
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Baand Baaja Baaraat
Jab Tak Hai Jaan


Katrina Kaif

Born in Hong Kong to a Kashmiri Indian father and an English mother, Katrina Kaif often seems to have a maturity beyond her years onscreen. By 25, she was playing the Chief Minister party leader in the political thriller Raajneeti — and somehow pulling it off. After memorable turns as a civil rights activist circa 9/11 in New York and a diving instructor helping Hrithik Roshan get over his fear of water (and workaholism) in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, she helped jaded modern audiences believe in “old school” true love again in last year’s blockbuster Yash Raj film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

Films to watch:
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Farah Khan

Farah Khan has been in the industry for what seems like forever: as a choreographer, she is responsible for so many memorable Bollywood dance sequences that it’s almost impossible to count, but some of our favorites include “Chaiya Chiaya,” “Shava Shava,” and “Maahi Ve.” In addition to her choreography, she’s directed memorable films such as Main Hoon Na and Om Shanti Om. In 2012, she won a Stardust Best Actress Award for her on-screen debut Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. But even when she’s behind the camera, she is an incomparable leading lady.

Films to Watch:
Om Shanti Om (as director)
Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi


Sonam Kapoor

Sonam Kapoor (daughter of Anil Kapoor, who international audiences know from Slumdog Millionaire and TV’s 24) made her debut in 2007 with Saawariya, opposite Ranbir Kapoor. At the time, Saawariya got a lot of attention, because although the two of them were newcomers to the industry, the film was co-produced by Sony Pictures, and it was the first Bollywood movie to receive a North American release by a Hollywood studio. Since then, Kapoor has landed girl next door roles in romantic comedies, such as Aisha and I Hate Luv Storys.

Films to Watch:


Kareena Kapoor

A descendant of the legendary Kapoor family, Kareena Kapoor is continuing the legacy started by Prithviraj Kapoor and cemented by Raj Kapoor, as Kareena was most recently named the highest ranking female actress in Forbe India’s Celebrity 100 list. A power player in the industry, Kapoor has been one of India’s highest paid actress in years, starring in blockbusters including Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard, Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One, and most recently reuniting with Aamir Khan in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within. 

Films to Watch:
3 Idiots
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu


There are many more, but here are 10 to start with. Who are your favorite Indian actresses?



Flashback Friday | Ten Taiwanese Leading Ladies You Should Know

Ang Lee has done more than anyone to bring attention to the Taiwanese film industry, shooting much of his 3D fantasy film Life of Pi in Taipei and Taichung — and always making sure to thank Taiwan in those Oscar speeches, even if his film is about gay cowboys in Wyoming. But Taiwan’s local films have had a recent commercial resurgence as well, catapulted by 2008’s super hit Cape No. 7. More recently, successful films include You Are The Apple of My Eye, Monga, and Seediq Bale, in addition to Taiwan/China co-productions like the ensemble romantic comedy Love. At the same time, Taiwanese dramas are as rampant as ever — and all of this brings us a wealth of new Taiwanese leading ladies.

A comprehensive list that spans decades would definitely include Taiwanese talents such as Sylvia Chang, Brigitte Lin, Lu Yi-Ching, Mavis Fan, Barbie Hsu, Rene Liu, Vivian Hsu and more, but instead, we’re going to concentrate on young actresses ruling commercial Taiwanese film and television today.

Michelle Chen 
As the honor student who all five male friends have a crush on in 2011’s hit film You Are The Apple of My Eye, Michelle Chen is the girl next door with that extra sparkle in her smile, should she respect you enough to shine it your way. The film was a commercial hit in Taiwan and the all-time highest grossing Taiwanese film in the Hong Kong box office, and it propelled Chen into stardom, earning her Best Actress nominations for Taipei’s Golden Horse Awards and Asian Film Awards.

You Are The Apple of My Eye
Hear Me



Sandrine Pinna

The half-Taiwanese, half-French actress first started getting noticed in the international festival scene as the muse of director Cheng Yu-Chieh, who cast her in his 2006 film Do Over. In 2009, he wrote Yang Yang — about a Eurasian girl dealing with her identity as a newbie in the entertainment industry — with Pinna in mind. The well-regarded actress has a magnetic quality onscreen, simultaneously child-like and soulful, and she was most recently nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards for her work in Touch of the Light, where she plays an aspiring dancer who befriends a blind pianist.

Yang Yang
Touch of the Light
Endless Love (TV)



Shu Qi

Often compared to Angelina Jolie for her sultry lips and smoldering effect onscreen, Shu Qi is most admired for her roles in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Millenium Mambo and Three Times, for which she won the Golden Horse Award for Best Actress in 2005. She also had a short stint in Hollywood acting, opposite Jason Statham in the original French action film The Transporter (co-directed by Hong Kong action director and choreographer Corey Yuen). In the last five years, she’s earned box office appeal in China with her romantic comedy If You Are The One 1 and 2, but most recently, she was part of the ensemble cast for the 2012 film Love, the Taiwanese version of Love Actually.

Millenium Mambo
Three Times
If You Are The One


Alice Ke

Alice Ke has a habit of popping up on many successful Taiwanese movies and dramas — from the tarnished hooker with the heart of gold in Monga, to the goal-oriented yet sometimes hapless department store worker in Office Girls, to the smokey-eyed unstable girl who thinks a teddy bear is her boyfriend in Bear It. And somehow Ke makes each wildly different character both likable and multidimensional. Her most recent drama was 2012’s Gung Hay Fat Choy (Wo Men Fa Cai Le).

Bear It
Office Girls (TV)



Ariel Lin

Ariel Lin first shot to fame in 2005 with It Started With a Kiss. Based on a manga series, Lin plays Xiangqin, the struggling, yet optimistic student who first annoys her crush, the emotionally-challenged genius Zhi Shu, with her haplessness and borderline stalking, but later wins him over out of sheer will power. Seven years later, Lin has grown up and is less “adorable” but more self-reliant in In Time With You, playing the sophisticated but stubborn manager who can’t admit she loves her best friend. The role earned Lin her second Golden Bell Award for Best Leading Actress in a Television Series.

It Started With a Kiss (TV)
In Time With You (TV)



Amber Kuo

Amber Kuo is a Taiwanese Mandopop singer who gained attention as an actress in 2010, with roles in Arvin Chen’s Au Revoir Taipei (where she took home Best New Actress at the Taipei Film Festival) and the TV drama The Year of Happiness and Love (for which she was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Television Series at the Golden Bell awards). In Doze Niu’s ensemble romantic comedy Love, she gives a memorable performance as a girl betrayed by an indiscretion between her boyfriend and her best friend.

Au Revoir Taipei


Ivy Chen

2009 was a big year for Ivy Chen, as she played a daughter of the Triad boss in the Golden Bell Award-winning cop series Black & White and gave a memorable turn as the protagonist in Hear Me, a film predominantly told in sign language, for which she won the Best Actress award at the Taipei Film Festival. In 2012, she was in the romantic comedy Love — co-starring actresses Amber Kuo and Shu Qi – playing a young girl who makes a detrimental mistake that might cost her her relationship with her best friend.

Hear Me



Sonia Sui

Sonia Sui’s claim to fame is The Fierce Wife, which was labeled “the most talked about show in Taiwan” in 2011 and was so popular that it was re-aired in Japan later that year and was adapted into a feature film The Fierce Wife: The Final Episode in 2012. Sui plays a young mother whose husband cheats on her with her cousin. Much of the comedy — and tragedy — comes from the ensuing divorce and her attempt to move on, and Sui’s performance has been praised for her balance of strength and fragility.

The Fierce Wife



Rainie Yang

The quintessential Taiwanese idol drama actress, Rainie Yang has been acting and singing since her debut role in 2001’s Meteor Garden. Though prolific, she’s had to work to be taken seriously as an actress, earning respect with her role in 2007’s Spider Lilies, a Zero Chou-directed lesbian drama that won the Teddy Award for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival. She’s often paired with Mike He, and she recently starred opposite Joseph Chang in Drunken to Love You.

Spider Lilies
Hi My Sweetheart (TV)
Devil Beside You (TV)



Gwei Lun-Mei

Although she got her start in the 2002 film Blue Gate Crossing, Gwen Lun-Mei may be most known for her role opposite Jay Chou in his directorial debut Secret. Gwei earned critical recognition this past year with her performance in Yang Ya-che’s Girlfriend Boyfriend, alongside Joseph Chang and Rhydian Vaughan, and she was the most recent recipient of the Best Actress trophy at the Golden Horse Awards.

Blue Gate Crossing



Who are your favorite Taiwanese actresses?

The Princess and the Physician: Review of Diana

Story by Ada Tseng.

Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews star in Diana, released November 8, a biopic about a secret love affair that the Princess of Wales had with a British Pakistani heart surgeon before her untimely death in 1997.

The 2013 film Diana, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and based on Kate Snell’s 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love, begins with the camera following Diana into different rooms and down corridors of the exquisitely-decorated palace where she lived alone after her separation from Prince Charles. Because we don’t see her face, there’s not only a sense of mystery but also a foreboding feeling, especially in a moment when she stops abruptly to look to see if anyone’s following her and we’re not sure why.

It’s a fitting beginning for a real-life inspired film in which we already know the tragic ending: the paparazzi chase that ended in a 1997 car crash that killed both Diana and her rumored lover, Dodi Fayed. While it was the biggest media story of the time, most assumed that Fayed was the only man in the picture, and it wasn’t until later that it was revealed that Fayed may have been more of a fling. That the man she was actually in love with was Dr. Hasnat Khan, a British Pakistani heart surgeon that she had secretly been dating for two years until they broke up in June 1997. She passed away in August.

The story of a secret love between a doctor who fiercely valued his privacy (Khan has still refused to talk about their relationship publicly, over 15 years later) and one of the most famous women in the world is the subject of this film, which takes place in the last few years of Diana’s tumultuous life.

di 2

Diana plays a little bit like an earnest teenage romance, for better or worse. The moments of sneaking around inspire the giddiness akin to sneaking out of your bedroom at night to meet your high school crush. She dons a long brunette wig so she can go out in public without being recognized, her cover story for seeing Khan at the hospital is that she is there visiting patients in need, and at some point she climbs over a back fence avoid paparazzi at Khan’s front door and tears her pantyhose. They share quotes from literature with each other; to his surprise, she knows one from the Quran that she learned as she was doing research for one of her previous diplomacy trips.  There’s even a moment where she screams his name from the street outside his place, hoping he’ll stick his head out of his two-story window.


Symbols, while appreciated, are displayed wrapped in adorable bows. The heart surgeon believes that you can die of a broken heart. The princess haunted by dreams of falling (being dropped or flying, defined differently depending on her feelings about love at the time), wonders if anyone will be able to catch her. And Khan’s love for jazz music, which Diana is excited to explore, ultimately represents the importance of improvisation outside of the princess’ otherwise structured life.


di 3


Overall, Naomi Watts successfully captures familiar mannerisms of the Princess of Wales, and Naveen Andrews (Lost, The English Patient) is as dashing as ever, as the dapper physician who quickly captures her attention at the hospital. It’s easy to see why she’s taken by the serious-minded, career-focused man who is generally very contained except in the fleeting moments when he dares to dream that they can meld their completely-opposite lives.

But Diana shines most in the moments when the film dabbles (albeit lightly) into the complexities of their relationship. The princess visits Pakistan to seek Khan’s Muslim skeptical family’s approval, and while she eventually wins them over (the princess can win anyone over), it’s not so simple. He cannot marry her without marrying the entire world. At one point, while his family member doubts Khan will be able to continue to practice normally as a surgeon if he marries her and tells him he has to choose, he jokes that Khan marrying Diana would be great for Pakistan! The doctor might love her, but is that enough? The fact that we might never know is what makes this story of star-crossed lovers perfect fodder for a dramatized Hollywood movie.

Diana opened on November 1 and is playing worldwide. For more information, go to the film’s official website.

 This story was originally published on